How to do a Plank!

Planks are a great full-body exercise! A common misconception is planks are just a core/abdominal exercise. However, planks are a full-body exercise that helps strengthen your core muscles (or abs), your shoulders and your quads (front of your thighs), and glutes (or butt). We use our core muscles every day without even realizing it. Doing exercises like the plank can increase our core strength and improve our daily movements and posture! Doing a plank correctly can be difficult, but here are some quick tips to help make sure you are doing them correctly.


  • Place your elbows underneath your shoulders
  • Extend your feet out
  • Lift your body off of the ground
  • Keep your body in a straight line and hold!

Common Mistakes:

  • Not keeping your hips in a neutral position by either lifting your hips too high or dropping your hips too low – You want to keep your hips in a straight line with the rest of your body!
  • Not keeping your neck in a neutral position by either looking up or looking down at your feet – It is important that you keep your neck in a neutral position by looking at a spot in between your hands!
  • Rounding out your upper back and bringing your shoulders by your ears – Keep your shoulders away from your ears and be sure that your upper back stays flat!


  • If the plank on your feet is too difficult, drop down to your knees! Even when you are on your knees, keep your hips and neck in a neutral position.
  • Is the regular plank not enough of a challenge? Try lifting one foot off of the ground and holding the plank. Alternate between each leg to get more of a challenge.

How to Start:

  • Start by holding the plank for 30 seconds (if this feels too long, go down in time)
  • As you get stronger, begin to hold the plank for longer time intervals (even as you increase the time, be sure to think about the muscles you are working on as you do the exercise)


Written by: Anisha Patel
Video by: Anisha Patel

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The Social and Health Research Center